Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed on Thursday told members of the ruling PTI that “switching parties won’t do them any good”, saying that “turncoats must also keep in mind that early elections can also be called in the country”.
He made these remarks during a press conference in Islamabad during which he talked about the upcoming no-trust vote against Prime Minister Imran Khan.
“Those who are changing parties and thinking they will get respect, they are wrong,” the minister said.
He claimed the country would get “good news” from this point onwards.
He said allies generally took more time in taking decisions. “Those who are [genuine] remain intact with democracy and their party,” he added.
Rashid advised political leaders in the opposition camp to stick to their decision as “it is their moral, constitutional and Islamic responsibility”.
“Let me tell you with responsibility that nobody is going anywhere,” the minister emphasised, saying he met Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar who was firmly standing with Imran Khan.
“He is also not going anywhere,” Rashid said regarding Buzdar.
The removal of the incumbent Punjab chief minister from office is one of the key demands of the group of estranged PTI lawmakers led by Jahangir Tareen.
A close friend of PM Imran, Aleem Khan, had also announced that he was joining the Tareen group. He had assailed the Imran Khan government in the Centre and the Usman Buzdar-led Punjab government for “completely failing to fulfil its mandate and bring about the promised change”.
During his press conference, the interior minister claimed that some opposition members would also not go to parliament on the day of the no-trust vote. Terming those members “responsible”, he said they understood that it would be “better” if PM Imran completed his tenure and early elections were called.
“The opposition has to rethink the situation in view of the global scenario,” he added.
Last week, several lawmakers from the ruling PTI, who had been ‘in hiding’ at the Sindh House in Islamabad, revealed themselves — proving that opposition claims of having won over members of the ruling coalition were indeed true.
The revelation came after PM Imran and some cabinet ministers accused the opposition of indulging in horse-trading ahead of the crucial vote on the no confidence resolution, disclosing that Sindh House in Islamabad had become a centre for buying and purchasing members.
But while government members continued to claim that these dissidents had “sold their souls for money”, a number of TV channels that sent their teams into Sindh House to verify the claims were faced with nearly a dozen PTI members, who poured their hearts out and laid bare all their gripes with the ruling party.
The interior minister had appealed to the dissident lawmakers to return the PTI, assuring them that they would not be questioned.
The minister had suggested the disgruntled leaders of the PTI visit their constituencies and consult their voters on what they thought about their decision. The members of the National Assembly belonging to the ruling party would regret their decision if they did not return, he had added.